Country contrasts

16th October 1998 at 01:00
INDIA: CHILDREN'S NEEDS, CHILDREN'S RIGHTS. An educational pack including teacher's book, colour photosheets, board game Pounds 16. UNICEF, Unit 1, Rignal's Lane, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 8TU.

UNICEF's latest contri-bution to the growing library of locality packs has several distinctive features.

The authors are concerned that children using just one of the many resources that focus on a single family and location may assume that this represents an entire sub-continent. So this pack presents six children, in different parts of India, in contrasting social and economic circumstances, from school-less children working as bonded servants to those in secure and ambitious families.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child provides a conceptual framework for exploring the lives of these "partner" children. The handbook of pupil activities is designed to sustain work at key stages 1, 2 and 3.

Tasks cover the entire curriculum, from art (Indian patterns) through drama (role-play activities), maths (family food budgets), religious education (matching symbols to faiths) to science (experimental bio-gas production). The 15 colour photo-sheets support a vast amount of analysis and speculation.

The ambitious scope of this pack - across India, the five to 14 age range, the curriculum - does incur some costs. There are no large-scale plans or maps -just two of the whole country. There is not really enough detail to envisage the reality of the social and physical landscapes that these six children inhabit. So this resource is likely to complement, rather than replace, existing single-locality studies, such as those produced by ActionAid.

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